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Dona Sarkar: Testing Software and Advocating Customers

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Meet Test Lead, and author, Dona Sarkar.  She hails from a family of engineers, and she’s one too, but she also writes fiction books for teenage girls.  Wow!  We could tell you more about her story, or you could just watch Dona tell it as she chronicles her career and the interesting twists and turns it’s taken.  As we’ve said before, and Dona continues to prove it, it takes all types.  The more diverse you are, the better.   

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  • Testers do more than just ensure all the functions work, they also test around "getting things done" or scenarios as we call them now.  I use user stories at work and I cannot tell you how important they are.  Instead of sitting in a room and deciding how users might use the product, I solicit feedback and ask them "how do you want it to work", and watch how they work, and notice that most times, it's the last 10% where software sometimes fails, or it's the "where do i begin" part (which I'm sure all developers or users of new versions of software have when they open it up the first time to the blank screen and start clicking around).

    It doesn't matter how cool the language or platform you have created is to you, it's, "will it allow the end user, when you are not there, to solve a problem, get something done, or alleviate frustration".

    I worked with a very nice lady who didn't know that you could grab the bottom of a cell in Excel, and drop the box to fill-down.  I showed this to her one day, and she almost cried.  She was literally copying and pasting by selecting the cell, clicking copy, and then highlighting the destination and clicking paste.  Or that you could right-click and paste things like formatting or values or formula's when using Office instead of the cell value.  That was a few years ago, but I understand where she is coming from.

    Great interview, and her energy is infectious.  It's nice to hear someone focus on the successes not just the failures of software.

    Cheers!
  • Reminds me of how happy a user gets when she realizes that she can hit alt-print screen and paste it right in an email rather than print-screen, scan in the printed page, and attach it to the email. (yes this happens pretty often).

    Sometimes I think I'm the only developer at our company that thinks about the user experience and not just the functions.
  • CUSTOMER IS LIKE GOD ACCORDING TO HINDU MYTHOLOGY . THE COMPANY WHO TAKES CARE OF ITS CUTOMERS WILL NOT DIE FOR YEARS TO COME . SO KEEP IT UP GALS AND GUYS WE R WITH U.
  • I went to a presentation once by Kate Gregory and she said it very well, "programmers get so caught up in the databasing, layers and authorization levels they actually forget there is a line of business in there somewhere".
  • What a great idea it is to shadow a customer to see what problems they are encountering with your software.  Using such an aggressive approach to customer satisfaction would be well received by nearly any business.

  • Great interview! I didn't know that back story on Scenario Voting, but it was very interesting stuff to hear.
    Keep up the great work in FnO and WEX! I have to agree, best version of Windows, EVER.

    BTW: I'm really glad that was your favorite quote <G> It was by Chris Holmes in one of the Windows 7 Beta NG Mini-Reviews.

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